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An overview of modeling in the energy field and its role in the formulation of national energy policy is presented. The nature of the modeling task and the various steps that it encompasses are described. The methodological alternatives available to the energy system planner in the conceptualization, development, and use of models are presented. Alternative policy instruments in the various supply and demand sectors are examined and their use in policy analysis is discussed. Finally, recent experience in the modeling field is drawn upon to exemplify the interactive nature of model building and point out some areas of immediate challenge that hold promise for the future.